New York State has established a $20 million competition for local governments to come up with ideas for consolidation, efficiency and shared services. The only grant to Western New York in the first round went to Chautauqua County.
County Executive Vince Horrigan says the state will be kicking in $50,000 as officials seek avenues to greater efficiency. One recent example saw the voters of Cherry Creek approving a resolution that dissolved the small village.
"We've been very successful with the North County Water District, merging six municipalities together, from two water plants to one," Horrigan added to the list of examples. Another sits in the school districts of Panama and Clymer, which have not merged but are now being managed by a single superintendent.
"We have to do it smart. We have to educate people. We have to bring them along," Horrigan maintained.
"You just can't dictate consolidation because people feel like if you're stepping on their pride, their community, they're going to fight you back but if you talk about a way to be better and work together, I think we can make progress."
According to Horrigan, part of the grant application requires a list of cost-saving projects, though he could not reveal specifics.